Warner tapped to top PDI/DreamWorks

DeRose ankles post, shuffles to Internet company

Aron Warner has been tapped the new head of DreamWorks-owned f/x and computer animation house Pacific Data Images (“Antz”).

Warner will replace PDI prexy and CEO Jim DeRose, who said he is resigning from his post on April 1 to move to an undisclosed Internet company.

DreamWorks jumped into the f/x game in early February when it acquired the 60% of PDI it did not own since first partnering with the company in 1996 (Daily Variety, Feb. 8).

DreamWorks’ plans to open a Los Angeles office have not yet been finalized.

Deal came after PDI founder and chairman Carl Rosendahl said he was exiting the San Francisco-based operation after 20 years as its topper to pursue other interests.

DeRose, who joined PDI in 1998, led PDI through a restructuring following the completion of its first computer- animated feature film, “Antz,” on which Warner served as a producer. DeRose also relaunched PDI’s commercial and feature effects business.

“During his time at PDI, Jim made enormous contributions to the firm,” DreamWorks principal Jeffrey Katzenberg said. “In one short year, he re-established PDI in the commercial and effects business and took it to record levels. He also played a vital role in streamlining PDI’s operations and in assisting DreamWorks with its recent acquisition of a majority interest in the company, and we wish him much success in his new venture.”

“I am proud to have been a part of the PDI/DreamWorks organization and have truly enjoyed working with Jeffrey and the entire team,” DeRose said. “Aron Warner is a talented producer and executive, and I know the company will prosper under his leadership. While I am excited about the new opportunity ahead of me, I will miss the day-to-day contact with the people at PDI/DreamWorks. It has been a great experience.”

Warner joined PDI in 1997 with “Antz” and previously served as veep of production at 20th Century Fox, where he supervised production on “Independence Day,” “The Crucible,” “Alien Resurrection,” “Volcano” and “Titanic.”

“Having collaborated with Aron Warner on ‘Antz,’ I know he brings enormous creativity as well as a solid production background to the table,” Katzenberg said. “I am confident he is the perfect choice to take over the reins of PDI/DreamWorks as we explore new projects and new business opportunities for the company.”

PDI is working on the computer animated pics “Shrek” and “Tusker.”

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